HOW TO SURVIVE rip currents

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HOW TO SURVIVE rip currents

A rip current can occur anywhere there are waves, including giant lakes. The bigger the
 waves, the more powerful the rip.

1  Know what to look for. The water
 inside a rip current is often foamier or
 more churned up than the water around
 it, sometimes even brownish in colour,
 having stirred up sand or dirt. If there are
 lifeguards around, ask them where the
 rips are – they probably spotted every
 one of them before they were even done
 with their morning coffee.

2  Pay attention to piers
 and jetties. Man-made
 structures like these often
 form the trough in the sand
 that creates a rip current.
 Troughs can form naturally,
 too, and they can also
 appear, disappear, or change
 throughout the day.

3  Unless your name is Michael Phelps, steer clear. A rip current
 can travel at around 8kph (5mph) – about twice as fast as
you can swim. If you’re a surfer, you can use a rip to get beyond
 the breakers faster, riding it like a conveyor belt out to sea.
But, unless you’re lifeguard-fit, you have little chance of
out-swimming a rip.

If you do get caught 

4  If you do get caught, go with the flow. Relax,
 tread water, and let the rip pull you away from
 shore – you’ll need to save your strength. As
 soon as you feel the current ease, swim parallel
 to the shore. Rips are narrow channels and you
 will often exit the current if you move laterally.

5  Still stuck? Sit tight. The rip current will only
 pull you out so far and will sometimes even
 deliver you to the calmer water behind the
 breaking waves. Once there, do what you can
 to get the attention of a lifeguard.

spaghetti supper 

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